Alani "Joie" Murrieta, a 20-year-old mother of two from Phoenix, Arizona, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, November 28 from complications linked to the flu: Her infection led to pneumonia, according to Murrieta's aunt, Stephanie Gonzalez, who set up a GoFundMe page to cover her niece's funeral expenses.
Gonzalez told BuzzFeed News that Murrieta was fine when they saw each other on Thanksgiving, after which many of their family members got sick. Murrieta went home sick from her warehouse job the following Sunday. The next day, Murrieta's sister took her to urgent care, where she was given the anti-viral medication Tamiflu, which is prescribed to treat viral flu symptoms, according to the drug maker's website. She coughed all Monday night; on Tuesday, she woke up feeling worse and coughing up blood, according to Gonzalez, who didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Typically, only young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems or existing health conditions are prone to serious complications from the flu that result in hospitalization or death, according to The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Although Murrieta doesn't appear to fall into any of these categories, her family took her to the emergency room around 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning. An x-ray revealed a bad case of pneumonia, Gonzalez told BuzzFeed News, a common bacterial infection of the lungs commonly marked by fluid build-up, according to MayoClinic.
Despite intravenous antibiotics, Murrieta's condition continued to decline, and her heart stopped while being moved to the hospital's intensive care unit. Gonzalez said Murrieta was successfully resuscitated once, but doctors' second try proved unsuccessful, and the 20-year-old was declared dead at 3:25 p.m. that day.
Because Murrieta was generally healthy and young, her family wasn't just deeply saddened, but completely caught off guard by her death. "I still don’t understand how this happened to her so fast - she went from feeling a little sick on Sunday to going to urgent care on Monday and then being gone by Tuesday afternoon," Gonzales told BuzzFeed News of her niece, whom she described as funny and loud.
Murrieta is survived by 6-month-old and 2-year-old sons. Her GoFundMe has raised more than $16,000 of its $18,000 goal since it was set up on November 29, the day after Murrieta's passing.
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